“A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.” Alan Bennett
This year my book buying AND reading have grown exponentially.
Like a child, I’ve been keeping a ‘reading river‘ record of what I’ve read since I started training as a teacher. By the end of September I will have set a new personal best. Historical Fiction in particular seems to have been an escape this year: from a world clearly gone mad in the microcosm and the bigger picture, too … reading is a form of therapy; it’s one of the few times I can properly switch off.
As to the book buying, my physical shelves need a reshuffle quite urgently (I’ve even earmarked a couple of dozen books which won’t make the move, because space is getting tight); but, hoping to shake this town’s dust off my feet as soon as possible, that’s a treat postponed for the new house, and the long-held dream – about to be fulfilled of – actually having a room I can call ‘the library‘. I’m getting giddy just typing those words. In the meantime, my restless nature, perhaps my impatience to leave, has made do with reorganising the online shelf.
Yes, the BH Bookshelf has a new iteration …
The old page, with its pen portraits of scores of titles, has shifted, giving way to a new section that collates and organises all the titles I’ve written more in-depth reviews of, with easy links to find them rather than trawl through the site. The reviews are dated, so it’s simpler to find the latest additions.
What’s it for? Why bother?
In looking for a pithy quotation or two, before settling on Alan Bennett’s I found this one, below, from Jonathan Evison.
“If I walk into a place, a party, say, and there’s a bookshelf, I immediately gravitate toward it. Unless there’s a bar. But even then, it’s only a matter of a few rounds before I make my way to the bookshelf. If there are good books on it, I may never leave the spot all night. Anybody I really want to talk to is going to make his or her way to that bookshelf sooner or later, anyway, right? Books are a nexus. They start conversations, and they continue conversations, and they make people better conversationalists. I have not found this to be the case with […] even alcohol.” Jonathan Evison
I’m hoping that the shelf is a useful resource for people interested in Shakespeare, or in the period he lived in, sure. But Evison is bang on – books are a nexus, and they start conversations. And so far this year, the reviews have proved popular, and started a few conversations, even scattered haphazardly through the site.
Don’t be shy about hanging out by the shelves: chat to me about what I’ve read, or please let me know what I should read next …